The new web profiles with their social hooks are heading our way and are likely to be here in the next few weeks. In the meantime, LL appear to be upping the Social Game with their latest e-mail to residents.
If you’ve filled out the INTERESTS section of your web profile, the chances are you’ve received (or will shortly be receiving) an e-mail from LL inviting you to make new friends, and offering you a few suggestions for people you’d like to connect with, like the one shown below.
Clicking on any of the images / names supplied in the advert will take you to the individual’s web profile, where you can look them over and even send them a friendship request.
I’m not sure how well-received this approach to making “connections” is going to be received. Leaving aside the fact that a “connection” and a “friend” are somewhat different concepts, this approach is fraught with basic problems.
On the one hand, those who have been in SL any length of time are going to be loathe to start sending out unsolicited friendship requests without any initial contact (although, of course, this approach doesn’t do anything to prevent a more “traditional” approach to contacting people listed in the e-mail prior to making friendship offers). Thus, there is every possibility such e-mails will be either ignored, or give rise to more people removing themselves from LL’s mailing list.
On the other hand, where this new service is used to start firing-off friendship offers without any prior contact, then it is liable to result in the vast majority of such offers being ignored by the recipients coupled with a rise in their annoyance at receiving such unsolicited requests. Hardly what LL are aiming for.
Thus, as well-meaning as it is, I can’t help feeling this initiative isn’t going to be as successful as LL hope (assuming it is going to being a regular thing). In fact, if LL want people to create networks of contacts using the new social media tools coming to web profiles, there are potentially much better ways of going about it.
One, for example, would be to give people the option to simply follow others in much the same way as Twitter. The would add considerable value to the Feed tool in the new web profiles – particularly if an individual’s Feed tab became a central point from which they could review comments and thoughts not just from Friends or those leaving comments on their profiles, but also from those they have elected to passively follow, without impinging on their virtual lives by repeated offers of Friendship.
It’s going to be interesting to see how these e-mails are received, and indeed, how long they last.